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Perceived Efficacy of Sustainability Strategies in the U.S., Italian, and Spanish Wine Industries: A Comparative Study

Purpose — This investigation compares the perceptions of competitive advantage (cost leadership and differentiation) with the practices of U.S., Italian, and Spanish wineries.

Design/methodology/approach – Data are collected via self-report web-based surveys in California, Tuscany, and Catalonia during the most severe economic downturn in the industry, from 2010-2013.

Findings – Of the 260 respondents among the three country samples, over 75% are family-owned, familymanaged. Respondents indicate who has implemented a clear business case for an Environmental Management System (EMS) and who has not. Benefits and challenges of implementing sustainability practices are also addressed.

Originality/value – Activities that create competitive advantages for wine businesses are understudied; this research bridges that gap.

Practical implications – A comparable percentage of respondents across the three countries indicated a ‘clear business case for EMS.’ Wineries in all three countries perceive that they have competitive advantage through implementation of EMS and commitment to sustainable practices. Top perceived benefits for respondents from the U.S. and Italy are focused on cost reduction strategies, while top perceived benefits for Spanish respondents are focused on differentiation strategies.


Agustí Casas RomeoRubén Huertas García

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